TRACKSIDED

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짝사랑

BRAD

I’m a fool.

I spent years chasing waterfalls, I’ve plunged countless times for Jane, I know she can’t love me, but still, I hope.

Love doesn’t play tricks on us, we’re the ones who prefer lying to ourselves, and when it blows up, we blame love. I can’t explain what I feel for this woman; it’s an irresistible desire to protect her. An unrestrainable wish to have her for me.

Fool.

Mona’s feelings were there Harlem shaking in front of me, but I never saw them because I didn’t want to; I didn’t desire them to deviate me from mission Jane.

I’ve been thinking about her, Mona, I mean. Perhaps I shouldㅡ.

I don’t have time to finish my reflection as my bedroom door bursts open, making me jolt from my bed like a cheating husband.

I grab my glasses from the nightstand to look at the figure which approaches.

“Don’t you knock? You just walk into men’s room like this.”

“Oh, Brad stop, it’s not like your parents are here.”

“How did you get in?”

“Your maid.”

I look at my watch; she should have finished. I’ll have to pay her for the overtime. Mia has been doing it a lot lately; she isn’t trying to make me spend all these extra hours on purpose, is she?

“Yo, Brad.”

“Yah,ㅡeh, why are you here?”

We haven’t really spoken about what happened in my car, and at other times Jane was there. All conversations about the incident found themselves aborted. Now we’re alone in my room; I’m not feeling this.

“It’s you, isn’t it?”

“Me what?”

I don’t know why, but I feel offended.

“You’re the one sending the messages and stalking Jane,” Mona says, stepping up to me.

“Wha-what are you talking about?”

“Don’t play dumb, Brad. No one else knows Jane’s secret like you. You’re the only person who can do this.”

“Mona, what is this crazy shit you are talking about?”

She steps back, “you don’t know?”

“No, no, I don’t.”

“Someone is stalking Jane, taking photos of her and Mr. Kim. He photographed them while they made out in her pool.

“What, Jane made out with Tae Won?”

My facial expression seems to reassure her as she realizes if I am not aware of that, then it isn’t me. I fall back on my bed with one thought: Why does Jane do this to me?

It seems any man will do except me.

“Don’t think I believe your play, Brad, your obsession with Jane is beyond human comprehension. For all I know, you’re paying someone to freak her out, so she falls into your arms.”

I chuckle and sit up, “Mona, that’s sick, I know I’m a douchebag in your eyes, but I rather see Jane happy with someone else than broken and miserable. I would never do such a thing. I love her too much; I mean, I loved her that much.”

Mona cocks her eyebrows and crosses her arms.

“Mona, it’s not me. It can’t be because my thoughts are occupied by someone else.”

Mona smiles, “Brad Nixon has a new obsession; I wonder who the doomed lady is.”

“It’s you, you dumbass girl.”

Mona does a backslide of offense with her head, and I understand I should have avoided the dumbass part. Suddenly the mushy love scenes evaporate as she attacks me.

“Oh, my God, you are such a cheapskate. Couldn’t you find something else to say to wiggle you out of this mess? You're the stalker, Brad, I’m sure. What you just said now proves it.”

“What, I like you, and I’m the stalker that adds up in your head. Do you seriously think I’m an asshole to the point of being interested in you to divert attention? Holy shit, Mona, I thought you knew each other better than that. Okay, you can be mad because I was too blind to notice your feelings, but I see them now, and I want to respond to them, and you’re saying it’s wrong.

“What do you expect, Brad? That you’d say that and I’d fall in your arms when I know you’ve been in love with my cousin for eight years?

My gaze shifts to different spots on the floor as though an answer would spring out of it. I lift my head and approach her.

“Believe it or not, I want to try, 사귈래 [sageulrae=let’s date].

“What?”

“Date me, Mona, try me and throw me away if I disappoint you.”

“I know your game, Brad; I won’t play subs.”

Mona doesn’t know; a girl like her can’t be a substitute, at least not for me.

“I’ve played the games, Mona; I’m too old and too lazy for that.”

You sometimes see women overestimate us. They think that we run about scheming and cheating, but most of us are lazy. Seducing women demands energy, midnight texts, morning calls, gifts, an attentive ear, etc.

When you decide to be with someone, you are signing an implicit contract for a neverending marathon because the story doesn’t start at the crush. That’s the cruise part where you play your movie in your head, and it’s always satisfying. You’re the director and the lead; you swim in self-content.

So here I am, ready to sign with Mona, and she doesn’t believe me.

“Okay, Mona, I’m not in love with you, not yet. I respect you; I can’t lie to you. But I know the feelings are there, give us a chance, make me a fool for you.”

“Brad.”

“Mona, a chance 딱 한번만 [tak han beon man=just once],” I say, taking her hand, she doesn’t pull away, “let me take care of you for once.”

I pull her close and kiss her.

We kiss a while, standing next to my bed; I don’t push things further, though all the conditions are unified. I have to admit the fact I’m aware Mona is still a virgin refrain me. I don’t know how I feel about her, and she doesn’t know how I am as a boyfriend.

We should wait. I won’t do anything Mona isn’t ready for because I care about her in a way she can’t imagine.

There you have it, my and Mona’s starting point.

We haven’t told Jane, we’re not keeping it from her, but it’s just we’ve all always been friends, even though she’s in a relationship too, this changes the form of what we had.

As expected, it’s a demanding relationship because it’s built on doubts. Mona isn’t sure if I’m sincere. Somewhere in the back of her head, she thinks I’m playing her, that she’s a substitute, or I’m trying to cover up the fact that I’m Jane’s stalker.

Mona couldn’t be more wrong, but how can I prove to her that?

The reaction I had when she told me about Jane and Tae Won marked her, yeah, I was furious, but yourself in my shoes.

There’s this person you’ve loved for so long who prefers being with other people than you, though you are more than qualified to make them happy, and I’m even more pissed now as I see Tae Won do his rounds at the club.

Tae Won has nothing I don’t have; apart from his looks, he lacks everything else. Jane can’t seriously be in love with him.

I drink and drink when I feel the right amount of haziness I get up.

I find Tae Won on the stairs, “yo.”

“Mr. Nixon.”

“So you’ve decided to go back into the ranks, what’s with Mr. Nixon, shit?”

He smirks, Asshole.

“I heard you're dating Jane.”

“We’reㅡ.”

“Hajima [don’t], she’s not a girl for you,” I say, tapping on his chest, “you see Jane she’s not a good girl, Jane isn’t little red riding Hood, she’s the big bad wolf, and her fangs are long. I know Jane, her darkness and dirt. I love all of that, even the lack of humanity in her actions. Do you think you can handle her obscurity?”

Tae Won smiles at me.

The dickhead.

I just want to wipe the grin off his fucking face.

“Jane will kill you. Once she’s chained your heart, you’ll die. Just like me,” I say, grabbing his shirt.

“Brad!”

We both turn and see Mona standing at the top of the stairs.

How long has she been standing there?

Did she hear?

It doesn’t matter because I know I’ve blown it.

Shit.

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